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Baby wearing face mask on Air New Zealand plane divides internet

A photograph of a baby wearing a full-face mask on a recent Air New Zealand flight has sparked fierce debate.

A photograph of a baby wearing a full-face mask on a recent Air New Zealand flight has sparked fierce debate.

The photograph, taken on a flight from Auckland to Wellington on July 1, shows the child wearing an adult-sized mask across its entire face, with holes cut out for the eyes.

Jandre Opperman, who snapped the viral image and shared it on Instagram, told the New Zealand Herald it was a “super-sweet interaction”.

“The baby was full off joy, jumping around and giggling away. It made the wait to get off the plane a bit more entertaining.”

As the image began to spread on social media, it began to attract negative comments from those who saw the masking as unsafe and indicative of an over-reaction towards mask-wearing.

Comments flooded in from those who said the image was “so incredibly sad” and showed “child abuse”.

“If I saw this on a flight I’d remove the mask from her myself,” said one irate commenter.

“Babies need air to develop,” noted another, rather understating the importance of breathing.

Another said it was “dangerous to cover their breathing holes like this”.

Opperman disagreed, saying the mask wasn’t tight and the mum was attentive to the child and was ensuring its wellbeing.

“I think it was a mix of having a laugh, and trying her best to protect her child with the equipment available to her,” he said.

Other commenters agreed, joking that the baby’s raised fist was just “to assure you there’s enough holes and gaps in the mask to breathe properly and don’t be a Karen and complain about a picture on Facebook.”

“Must be training as a superhero lol! The world is not yet ready for SuperBaby,” said another.

Another succinctly told negative commenters to “relax your undies”.

By law, all passengers over 12 must wear masks on domestic flights in New Zealand.

This story was originally published by the New Zealand Herald and has been reproduced here with permission.


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